Congratulations to the 2016 Certificate in Digital Humanities Graduates!


The Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative (CDHI) congratulates this year’s recipients of the Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities, Alicia Rivero (non-degree), Ashley Peles (PhD student, Anthropology), Charlotte Fryar (PhD student, American Studies), Elijah Gaddis (PhD student, American Studies), Letitia Guran (non-degree), Mishio Yamanaka (PhD student, History), Rae Yan (PhD student, English & Comparative Literature), and William Knauth (MSIS student, School of Information and Library Science). The Graduate Certificate serves students interested in the ways that digital technologies are transforming the creation and sharing of knowledge in the humanities. These transformations create new opportunities and connections across disciplines and among institutions.

Alicia Rivero (non-degree: PhD, Brown University) has written several works on subjects such as comparative literature, mythography, science and other cultural studies, literary theory, history of ideas, gender issues, and new historicism. She has also been doing research work in the digital humanities, digital texts and theory. Rivero is working on a book project titled Nature in Contemporary Latin(a) American Literature: Ecology, Gender, Race and Other Issues. Most recently, she is including digital humanities, digital texts and theory in her research and classes. Rivero, one of the first non-degree recipients of the certificate, uses comparative approaches to explore digital literature produced by Latina/o authors. Her investigations of e-poet, Loss Pequeño Glazier, and the digital novel authored by the Peruvian, Doménico Chiappe, Tierra de extracción (Land of Extraction), combine theoretical approaches with media production to consider social, political, historical, and aesthetic concerns related to these evolving genres. For her field experience, Rivero developed digital resources for the Ometeca Institute, organizing the Institute’s conference at UNC Chapel Hill in April 2016, whose keynotes were relevant to DH–N, Katherine Hayles and Loss Pequeño Glazier. Additionally, she is now that website’s webmaster.  The full program for that event, which included DH talks by Michael Newton and Stewart Varner, can be found at Rivero gave a talk during this conference on DH and Glazier’s poetics and digital poetry in his White-Faced Bromeliads. Also, she is now the Editor of Ometeca: Science and Humanities–the Ometeca Institute’s scholarly journal, found at

Ashley Peles (PhD student, Anthropology) is a graduate student in the Anthropology department. Her primary work as an archaeologist centers around the role that food plays in facilitating social interactions among people. More specifically, she analyzes the plant and animal remains found at archaeological sites. Her dissertation research addresses the role of food in ritual and feasting activities at three Late Woodland (400 – c. 1100 A.D.) mound sites in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Her archaeological work, and the city of Natchez, Mississippi where the field crew was located, led to the focus of her Digital Humanities certificate. In order to better appreciate the rich French colonial history of Natchez, Ashley geared her DH work towards 3D models. As a CDHI Graduate Fellow and member of a NEH Digital Archaeology Method & Practice workshop at Michigan State, Peles combined GIS data, historical documentation, and archaeological evidence to create a digital visualization of Natchez during the early 1720s using the gaming platform Unity 3D. While this project continues to be modified and updated, you can see a flythrough of the current Natchez model at the in-progress website,

Charlotte Fryar (PhD student, American Studies) finds her research interests in public higher education, oral history practice, digital methodologies, and twentieth century North Carolina history. Her dissertation uses oral histories and digital methods to document and interpret the long history of student activism against institutional racism on UNC’s campus as a digital exhibit and organizing tool for activists. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in American Studies, both from UNC-Chapel Hill. After two years as a project manager at UNC’s Digital Innovation Lab, Charlotte now works for the Southern Oral History Program, where she is the first University History Field Scholar, a position supported by the Chancellor’s Task Force on UNC-Chapel Hill History. She served as project manager for Names In Brick & Stone for her field experience for the CDHI Graduate Certificate.

Elijah Gaddis (PhD student, American Studies) is a folklorist and doctoral student in American studies, is interested broadly in built landscapes of the American South, with a particular interest in places of enslavement, resistance, and cultural performance. Elijah is drawn to the digital humanities as a form of praxis that can connect scholarly interest and public practice. He completed his field experience working with the National Park Service as a community partner while producing a multi-sited digital exhibit on the use of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Gaddis taught an Introduction to Digital Humanities course through the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education in the spring of 2016. He continues to develop research on cataloging and preservation as part of his work with museums and cultural institutions

Letitia Guran (non-degree: Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, University of Georgia) specializes in comparative literature, multi-ethnic American literature with an emphasis on African American topics, post-communist and post-colonial studies. Guran–one of the first non-degree recipients of the certificate–has been working on archival materials and digital editions related to early essays by Langston Hughes. Coordinating with librarians at UNC and at Yale University, Guran collected and curated a number of versions of essays describing Hughes’s travels in Russia in the 1930s. For her field experience, Guran worked with the Scalar digital publishing platform to create pedagogical resources related to Hughes.

Mishio Yamanaka (PhD student, History) is developing “The Fillmore Boys School in 1877: Racial Integration, Creoles of Color and the End of Reconstruction” (, a history project that examines the school desegregation experience of Creoles of color and francophone Catholics of interracial descent in Reconstruction New Orleans. The project features geo-spatial analysis, network analysis, and family histories that reveal racial, ethnic, geographic and social characteristics of students and their families using a digital platform.

Rae Yan (PhD student, English & Comparative Literature) is a fourth-year PhD candidate in nineteenth-century British literature. She earned a BA in English and Chinese Literature and Language from Wellesley College. Her dissertational research explores the intersections of Victorian literature, early twentieth-century Chinese literature, and scientific discourse. She produced a digital edition of James Malcolm Rymer’s serialized novel The Sepoys; or, Highland Jessie for her digital humanities certificate. Along with a collaborator, Dr. Rebecca Nesvet of the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, Yan developed a digital archive of the works of the nineteenth-century popular working-class author James Malcolm Rymer. The work has now been published online as the James Malcolm Rymer Archive ( Yan also focuses on issues of collaborative writing, digital communication, digital accessibility, and digital literacy. Through her field experience, Yan explored the use of mark-up and programming languages such as XML/TEI and XSLT and worked with colleagues in the Department of English and Comparative Literature to produce visualizations of novel plots.

William Knauth (MSIS student, School of Information and Library Science) is a first-time exhibitor and second year graduate student in the School of Information and Library Science. Knauth investigates the use of 3-D technology to preserve, document, and share cultural content. Knauth contributed to the Digital Loray project by creating 3-D models of industrial housing from the 1920s in rural North Carolina. He completed his field experience at the UNC Ancient World Mapping Center, continuing efforts to scan a major classical monuments in Rome.

The Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities is open to all UNC-Chapel Hill graduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences and professional schools (e.g., schools of Journalism, Education, Information and Library Science, Public Health) and to non-degree-seeking students, including independent scholars, faculty and staff at UNC campuses, postdocs, k-12 teachers, educators, and professionals working in cultural heritage organizations. For more information about the GC/DH please contact Malina Chavez or Dan Anderson.

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